Being a dessert wine the nearest reference point I have is port; and although this rich, dark, raisin-scented red doesn’t seem quite as thick and viscous as your average ruby port, it certainly shares a majority of the characteristics with that famous fortified wine from the other end of Europe. It’s sweet, reminiscent of dried fruits, dates and dark chocolate, and has an alcoholic warmth that tickles the tongue.
“Mavrodaphne” is both the name of the grape and the wine, so it’s a relatively straightforward affair. The place of origin is northern Peloponnese (the bit at the bottom of Greece), specifically, Achaea.
Wikipedia notes a rather mournful piece of trivia about the wine:
“The name Mavrodafni was given to the grape variety and the wine by Gustav Clauss, the founder of the oldest and most famous winery of Greece, Achaia Clauss. It was named after his Greek fiancée, whose name was Daphne, who died young before their marriage.”
Hopefully the above won’t put you off; think of it as a romantic, rather than a depressing, wine, if you must take it to heart.
Personally I find it slots right in to the same compartment as port: being something I’d happily drink all year round but would more often find myself stocking up on during winter months. It certainly has a Christmassy feel to it.
And yet the funny thing is that I instinctively refrigerated it; which I wouldn’t normally do with a port. It was delicious cool, but would probably serve just as well at room temperature. Maybe ask a Greek, if you want to do things properly.
It’s possible that there’s a variety of styles – and doubtless that there’s a variety of qualities – in the world of Mavrodaphnes, as with port, but this decent bottle will serve you well enough by way of an introduction. And you can pick it up from Tesco, where it currently retails at about £5.
This is a real bargain at that price, and the consistently good reviews speak for themselves.